Being Animal: Beasts and Boundaries in Nature Ethics

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Columbia University Press, May 21, 2013 - Nature - 240 pages
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For most people, animals are the most significant aspects of the nonhuman world. They symbolize nature in our imaginations, in popular media and culture, and in campaigns to preserve wilderness, yet scholars habitually treat animals and the environment as mutually exclusive objects of concern. Conducting the first examination of animals' place in popular and scholarly thinking about nature, Anna L. Peterson builds a nature ethic that conceives of nonhuman animals as active subjects who are simultaneously parts of both nature and human society.

Peterson explores the tensions between humans and animals, nature and culture, animals and nature, and domesticity and wildness. She uses our intimate connections with companion animals to examine nature more broadly. Companion animals are liminal creatures straddling the boundary between human society and wilderness, revealing much about the mutually constitutive relationships binding humans and nature together. Through her paradigm-shifting reflections, Peterson disrupts the artificial boundaries between two seemingly distinct categories, underscoring their fluid and continuous character.

 

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Contents

Animals and Nature
1
2 Animals in Environmental Perspective
18
3 Animal Ethics
43
4 Wild Animals
65
5 Domesticated Animals
89
6 The Debate Between Environmentalism and Animal Advocacy
117
Finding Common Ground
141
8 Being Animal
161
Notes
187
Bibliography
205
Index
219
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About the author (2013)

Anna L. Peterson teaches at the University of Florida. Her research focuses on environmental and social ethics and the relations between animal ethics and animal advocacy. Her books include Being Human: Ethics, Environment, and Our Place in the World and Everyday Ethics and Social Change: The Education of Desire.

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